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VA Boston Healthcare System


2012 Award for Excellence in Medication-Use Safety

Two women, one in a lab coat, reach for bottles in a pharmacy

Two women check supplies at VA Boston's pharmacy

Wednesday, December 19, 2012
The American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP) Research and Education Foundation recently announced that VA Boston Healthcare System (VA BHS) is the recipient of the 2012 Award for Excellence in Medication-Use Safety.  This award, sponsored by the Cardinal Health Foundation, is the only national honor that recognizes a pharmacist-led multidisciplinary team for implementing significant institution-wide improvements in medication safety.

“The crucial piece of the program is the collaboration between pharmacy, geriatrics, inpatient teams, primary care teams, and most importantly, the Veterans and caregivers, “ said Dr. Allison Paquin, Clinical Pharmacist. “From a medication standpoint, the team approach is needed in order to make sure patients are safe and healthy at home.”

Since caregivers are often involved with this critical part of Veterans’ health they, too, need to be aware of the updated medication list in order to help patients manage their medicines. This includes setting up medications in a pillbox or other organization systems to help patients remember to take their pills. Because of this, it’s important that both Veterans and caregivers receive medication education.

With this as a basis, VA  BHS’s Pharmacological Intervention in Late Life (PILL) program was developed and is aimed at older people, to ensure a safe and healthy transition from hospital to home and to instill confidence in Veteran’s/caregiver’s handling of multiple medications.  Following discharge from the hospital, a pharmacist contacts the Veteran/caregiver and reviews their medicines.

The PILL pharmacist acts as a failsafe for those at highest risk for medication issues by reviewing the new and sometimes more complex medication list and identifying geriatric-specific medication concerns.

If there are medication concerns, the PILL pharmacist will follow-up with the Veteran’s primary care or specialty doctor.

If you are Veteran or caregiver and would like more information on the PILL Program or have questions about your medication, please call the PILL Clinic at (857)-364-2036.


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